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Case Study

When heart and soul meets serious business

We helped this West-Country café group find its focus, and transform its charming concept into a unique yet consistent brand.


The challenge:

In the extremely competitive retail café market, Boston Tea Party have found their sweet spot, taking on the role of ‘the antithesis of the homogenised high-street dining experience’. They’re affordable, source their products locally and each café is rooted in the needs and passions of the local community. This means that every branch has its own unique appeal – which is brilliant, but makes it difficult to bottle the brand. Boston Tea Party wanted to be sure that they were delivering excellent service across the board, while retaining each café’s individuality.

We developed a bespoke mystery-dining concept that allowed for more personal, heartfelt responses to their brand experience.

Our insight:

We didn’t feel that a fact-and-data-based reporting system was the right approach for Boston Tea Party. Instead, we developed a bespoke mystery-dining concept that allowed for more personal, heartfelt responses to their brand experience. At the same time, our mystery dining reports still produced the scoring with which to benchmark performance and brush up operations where necessary.

Established in


No. of cafés


The outcome:

The information we gathered had a profound effect on the way Boston Tea Party operates. For instance, they’ve added signs to spaces left by out-of-stock sandwiches, letting customers know that they can have them made to order. At the till – where customers receive that all-important interaction with staff that can make or break a brand’s reputation – the experience has been refined and perfected. Even the menu has been trimmed to provide the customer with a more concise, confident offering.

“Insight’s mystery dining programme was so successful in helping us tap into what our customers were looking for – the people, as opposed to the products – that we’ve decided to increase the frequency of visits. This way we’re not making changes based on one-off results, but measuring each café’s service with consistent reviews.”

Sam Roberts, Managing Director/Co-owner

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